As we left Portland the odometer clicked over 2,000 miles, and we celebrated somewhere next to the Columbia River. Now we are on our way to the Ocean. We had a lot of fun in Portland and bounced from friends to family – we climbed around on top of volcanoes and tried to keep our footing on sailboats.
The one word I would use to describe Portland was ‘HOT!!!”. Unusually hot, and we weren’t the only ones who noticed. Everyone was suffering, even the flora and fauna. I heard rumbles that the water was so hot, the salmon weren’t making it through to the spawning grounds. All of this was an odd contrast to home, where we have way more water than we know what to do with… but I digress.
Portland was lovely, despite the heat. Our time was spent with old friends and some family. My (internet) friend Matt hosted us and the camper at his place, which was actually about 20-30 miles south of the city proper. Matt took us around the first night to an Art Festival where I met his friend Amy who had a booth, all of her work was lovely. Anna and I agreed on a print and purchased it. It’s now hanging in the camper and brightens the place up quite a bit. We popped around to another gallery to see another friend’s work before heading to a pub where Matt’s art was hanging. It was a pleasure to see it in person. I’ve admired it digitally for a while now, but in person you really get a sense of the depth and time he puts into it. I got to see one piece in particular – it’s called “Sputnik”. It’s one of those pieces I saw online and it just caught me, I can’t say anything more except that I fucking love it (sorry mom). I managed to convince him to give me a print, but someday, in the future, I hope to have the original in my house. If you get the chance, check out his work, (www.poindexterart.com) he’s awesome.
It was great to get our “art-nerd” on for a bit, but also nice to wrap up the day after the long haul across Idaho and Oregon. It was still a bit early but it was time to head back to camp.
Day two in Portland got off to a lazy start. I let Anna sleep in while I cleaned up the camper and made some coffee. Between Aaron and the Camper guys (back at home) and Matt and I, we were able to solve the previous camper problems. Whew, I was taking maximum delight in the fact that everything was working as it should. I managed to get a hold of my (kinda)-cousin Mike (known to others as “The Skleeve”) and his lady Adria (who is a lovely human being) we all rendezvoused at their place before heading to the Japanese Gardens. It was hot again, but lovely. The signs of the thirsty earth didn’t go unnoticed though. Areas which were once bright green and full of moisture and health were now brown and shriveled. I suppose Nature knows what it’s doing…
In the evening, after the gardens, we met up with some old friends from high school, Ashley and Amy – they took us out to dinner and on a lightning tour of some cool parts of Portland. I do wish we’d gotten some more time with these fantastic ladies but it was the 4th of July weekend and we’d been promised a sailboat ride, which took priority over all other things.
One of my oldest friends let us join him and his family on his boat as we sailed around on the Columbia. The north Washington state shore was a constant stream of explosions all night as the Vancouver residents shot off mortar after mortar – despite the drought (fireworks are legal there). It was when the moon rose, though, that I really had to stop to take it in. What a profound thing it is that we had traveled all these many miles to be where we were are, right now – A place to witness a moment of beauty on a boat full of love.
You know, Portland is a very cool place – overwhelmingly cool actually. It seemed that instead of wondering what to do next, the conundrum often was what not to do. We visited an entire block of food trucks, with every kind of food imaginable. How do you pick just one thing, one kind of food, one kind of activity, one park to go to? I guess, the truth of the matter is, I ain’t no city girl. I can handle the fast pace for a while, but then I have to slow down. What’s that I hear? Ah, yes, it’s the Ocean:)